Letters: Non-profits pay workers

Just because a group is non-profit doesn't mean they all volunteer

RE: Paid employees are not volunteers, Sooke News Mirror, Oct. 24, 2012

I must agree with Mr. Lloyd’s statement, or at least the title of his statement that ‘paid employees are not volunteers’. He’s correct, they are not, at least in the capacity of their paid work.  Many of the employees non-profits do in fact volunteer many more hours well beyond the scope of their employment.

Where Mr. Lloyd appears to be confused is the fact that many non-profit organizations have employees and are still volunteer based organizations.

The other side of the coin is that some non-profit organizations do not utilize volunteers at all and are still ‘not-for-profit’. The non-profit designation relates to their status with Canada Revenue Agency and allows them to provide their service (sometimes product) at an affordable rate – either in terms of affordable to members of the public and/or in a sense that the service could not be provided with the same focus in a for-profit corporation. The later being the category the TLC fits under. The land would not be saved for public and environmental concerns otherwise.

The number of employees an organization has, nor their average wage has nothing to do with whether they fit under the term ‘volunteer organization.’ That would be a management matter and still may well be a point of interest. You don’t get skill levels anywhere for long without paying for them. Does the organization utilize the services of volunteers?  Do they have  volunteer management and support strategies?  Do they provide volunteer recognition and appreciation? These are the types of things that make a good volunteer organization.

Look around you, there are many non-profit organization within our region that require paid employees and volunteers to carry out their good works:  Sooke Fire & Rescue Association, Edward Milne Community School, Salvation Army, Sooke Family Resource Society, just to name a few.

Even volunteer centres like Volunteer Victoria and the one being developed here for the Sooke Region will have at least one paid employee and still run with the help of volunteers. I invite Mr. Lloyd and anyone else who is interested to get involved in a local non-profit organization.

Marlene Barry, Chair

Sooke Region

Volunteer Centre Committee